Man dies after Tesla crashes into SF area pond

Associated Press

Castro Valley, Calif. – Authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area are investigating the death of a man after a Tesla car he was driving veered off a road, crashed through a fence and into a pond. It is unknown if the vehicle was in Autopilot mode.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Daniel Jacowitz said that rescuers pulled the submerged car, a Tesla Model S, from the pond early Monday and found the man’s body inside.

The driver was identified as Keith Leung, 34, of Danville, California, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, spokesman of the Alameda County Sheriff’s office.

Kelly said it was too soon to know if the vehicle’s semi-autonomous Autopilot mode was engaged when the crash occurred or whether the driver was speeding or intoxicated.

Photographs of the car show that its backend was destroyed, its hood crumpled and windows shattered.

The crash occurred near the cities of San Ramon and Danville on Sunday evening, Jacowitz said. A property owner contacted authorities after hearing noise and seeing damage to his fence and tire tracks.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s office sent a rescue team and divers that found the vehicle submerged in the pond, with the driver still seated in the vehicle, Jacowitz said.

The driver’s speed in the 35 mph zone was not yet known, but “it was great enough to leave the roadway, hit a fence, keep going down an embankment and into a pond on the property,” Jacowitz said.

Federal transportation authorities are investigating a March 23 crash of a Tesla Model X SUV on a California highway. The driver was killed. Authorities are looking into the performance of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system.